Ron DeSantis Beats Donald Trump Among Florida Voters in 2024 Poll

Registered Republicans in Florida would back Governor Ron DeSantis over Donald Trump if the pair were up against each other for the GOP's 2024 presidential candidacy, a poll has found.

According to the survey by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab, DeSantis was the top pick in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary for GOP voters in the Sunshine State at 44 percentage points, with the former president in second place with 41 points.

The poll found two percent of respondents wanted someone other than Trump or DeSantis, with seven percent saying they didn't know and six percent refusing to give an answer.

"With a lot of speculation about a possible presidential bid from DeSantis, we thought this would be an interesting hypothetical," said Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and professor of political science.

"It turned out to be pretty close with DeSantis up by three points against Trump. With both of them calling Florida home, this is a pivotal state and an outlier compared to national polling on this race."

The UNF PORL Florida Statewide Poll comprised 685 Florida voters, 259 of whom were registered Republicans.

DeSantis and Trump have long been considered to be two main frontrunners for the GOP presidential primary, but the former president is still the overwhelming favorite to claim the nomination if he decides to run.

According to a collection of national polls since November 2021, compiled by the Polling USA Twitter account, as of February 17, Trump's average polling stands at 50.3 percent, with the Florida governor a distant second on 23 percent.

Former Vice President Mike Pence is the third choice of potential GOP presidential candidates for 2024, but he is only polling 8.4 percent on average.

Elsewhere, the survey found DeSantis maintains significant leads over both main Democratic candidates in this year's Florida gubernatorial election.

In a hypothetical race between DeSantis and Charlie Crist, 55 percent of respondents said they would vote for DeSantis, with 34 percent backing the Democratic congressman. The rest of those taking part in the poll opted for "don't know" or didn't give an answer.

Asked who they would vote for if the candidates were DeSantis or Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, DeSantis again came out on top with 55 percent, compared to 32 percent for Fried, with 12 percent saying they didn't know or not answering.

"We're seeing a very wide margin for DeSantis against both top Democratic candidates—Crist and Fried," Binder said. "A lot of Democratic voters still doesn't know who they would vote for, so I would expect that lead to narrow between now and November."

The UNF PORL Florida Statewide Poll was comprised of 685 registered Florida voters and was conducted Monday, February 7 through Sunday, February 20, 2022.

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Ron DeSantis speaks with Donald Trump at a campaign rally at the Pensacola International Airport on November 3, 2018 in Pensacola, Florida. Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images